The Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) has initiated the first full-scale trial of e-navigation in Norwegian waters in conjunction with NAVTOR, a global leader in e-navigation technology and services. The test sees the ferry MS Stavangerfjord digitally sharing its routing information with NCA via NAVTOR’s NavStation, the world’s first ‘digital chart table’.
The project focuses on the way NCA receives vessel data. Until now, ships had to contact the authority via maritime VHF radio to verbally communicate routing information before both departure and arrival. NCA could then update vessel navigators on traffic and advise of any necessary changes in speed or routing.
However, NavStation – unique software that gathers all the information navigators need into a single interface – allows the authority and vessel to work together as one, seamlessly transferring information and enhancing maritime safety, efficiency and control.
Bjørn Åge Hjøllo, Project Development Manager at NAVTOR, explains: “Through the use of NavStation, both Stavangerfjord and the NCA’s shipping control centre in Kvitsøy, Rogaland, have access to identical digital chart information. The vessel sends its sailing data automatically, eliminating any risk of communication misunderstandings, and the centre receives this accurate data instantaneously, allowing it to approve, or if necessary adjust, the route.
“For the vessel it offers increased efficiency and a real simplicity of service, while the NCA gets the information it needs to effectively monitor and control traffic. This is a perfect demonstration of the ability of e-navigation, making life significantly easier, safer and more efficient for navigators and land-based decision makers.”
Stavangerfjord is owned by Norwegian shipping firm Fjordline and sails the popular Bergen-Stavanger-Hirtshals (Denmark)-Langesund return route. The trial is being undertaken in partnership with Kongsberg Maritime and subsidiary Kongsberg Norcontrol IT, which worked with NAVTOR to deliver the ship and shore-based software solutions.
Willy Zeiler, Marketing Manager at NAVTOR, says the initiative shows how maritime communication is evolving, moving from the verbal to digital transferal of data. He adds: “Awareness of e-navigation’s huge potential is growing everyday. The industry is waking up to see its clear benefits for enabling safer and more efficient shipping worldwide.
“That’s our principal focus at NAVTOR. We are committed to developing technology and services that simplify complicated tasks and produce better operational results. This project will help us, and our partners, demonstrate the tangible benefits this innovative approach provides.”
NAVTOR already has a successful working relationship with NCA, having partnered with the organisation on the SESAME (Secure, Efficient and Safe Maritime Traffic Management in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore) e-navigation project since 2012.
The firm launched the NavStation software to the market in 2014. Available on touch screen devices and standard computers, the software gathers and overlays an array of information for navigators on a single screen for the very first time. These ‘layers’ of information include ENCs, weather data, tidal information, digital publications, and other services such as passage planning and route monitoring.